Bennet Otoo (Jumia Ghana)
Who is a customer? In the most explicable terms, a customer is that person who indirectly pays for all your bills, vacations, hobbies and gives you the opportunity to better yourself. Although this may sound really one sided, it is very true.
Customers remain one of the most important stakeholders in every business entity that exists worldwide. This is why the old adage ‘’The customer is always right’’ has become a mantra for successful businesses. Without customers, there would be no successful business. Each year, the first week of October is celebrated globally as ‘’Customer Service Week’’.
This weeklong celebration is to emphasize the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. It is also a time when customers get to appreciate the support they receive from customer service experts.
According to a global report by Hubspot, businesses can grow revenues between 4% and 8% above their market when they prioritize better customer service experiences. Additionally, 89% of companies with “significantly above average” customer experiences perform better financially than their competitors. As we celebrate this week, let’s take a look at the impact of customer service to businesses and customers.
1. Retaining customers vs Acquiring new ones – Every business today will tell you how difficult it is to acquire new customers. With strong competition and initiatives from both domestic and international brands, it has become increasingly difficult to always acquire new customers. In fact, customers now say ‘’there is nothing new under the sun’’. They may either have used a bad service and are looking for a new experience elsewhere or just scouting to find the best service. It is easier and cheaper to retain your existing customers than acquiring new ones. This is where customer service comes in. With good customer service, you are assured that your existing customers are happy. By helping them make purchases, answering their calls and handling their complaints, you are almost sure to have them come back again and again.
- Communicating brand image and values – It may be quite ironic to find a company whose values are boldly printed at their premises connoting great customer service while the staff are busily chatting and eating at their desks when customers are queued up waiting to be served. Good customer service communicates vividly what a company or brand stands for and gives it a positive image. This means that customers naturally fall in love with these brands and believe that whatever the challenge may be, they are in safe hands. In today’s business world, the impact of good customer service cannot be overemphasized. When you offer great customer service, you are communicating that you value your customers and cherish them. This brings enormous benefits to your business in many forms.
- Loyalty and Referrals – Another very beneficial impact of good customer service is loyalty. When customers fall in love with your brand, they stay loyal to you. No matter the difficulties and challenges, they stick and stay. Many of them even become your indirect brand ambassadors. They even go the extra mile of referring your products and services to their family and friends. There is power in taking customer service seriously. Never underestimate it. Having a loyal customer means that they are satisfied with your service and believe that anything that goes wrong can and will be fixed. For example, ecommerce companies like Jumia whose main business is online always rely on their customer service teams to offer that human feel to it’s customers. Due to the general lack of trust in online businesses in our part of the world, it is important to always be on hand to support customers, make purchases, pay for the services and assist them when they face challenges in delivery or when they are unsatisfied with the packages they received. It’s always beautiful to see how good customer service converts random customers to very loyal lifetime customers.
- Competitive advantage – Imagine two companies selling the same product or rendering the same service. Company A has an amazing customer service team that is always ready to assist customers and help solve their problems. On the other hand, company B has a customer service team who never pick up their calls or never get back to customers when they say they will. If you are indecisive about which company to buy from, I bet you will go for company A even though the price may be slightly higher. Of course, at the back of your mind, you will be wondering what happens if something goes wrong along the way. How will you file for returns or refunds? With a good customer service team, you are rest assured that you have a competitive advantage over other brands who cannot match up to your level.
- Improve revenue – Maybe the most important element for most business owners. REVENUE! How much are we making at the end of the day? All the above points are catalysts for growth and revenue generation. When good customer service exists, it reflects in the financials. At the end of the day, everyone at the company goes home smiling.There will be incentives, salary increments, promotions and a general satisfaction and fulfillment. Who doesn’t want this?
The benefits of good customer service are many and the effects of bad customer service are also very detrimental on any business. Good customer service helps to build your brand reputation and image. Always remember that we now live in a world where great customer service is an expectation, not a “nice-to-have.” Let’s wish all customer service executives a happy customer service week and charge them to continue working hard to ensure that our customers are not always right but always happy.